The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2013 was awarded today (Oct. 10) to the Canadian author Alice Munro, called a “master of the contemporary short story.”
Munro grew up in Ontario, where her mother was a teacher and her father was a fox farmer. She studied journalism and English at the University of Western Ontario. She married in 1951 and settled with her husband in Victoria, British Columbia, where they opened a bookstore.
Munro began writing stories in her teens and published her first book-length work in 1968.
She is primarily known for her short stories, including some LGBT-themed pieces, and has published many collections over the years. Her works include “Who Do You Think You Are?” (1978), “The Moons of Jupiter” (1982), “Runaway” (2004), “The View from Castle Rock” (2006) and “Too Much Happiness” (2009). The collection “Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage” (2001) became the basis of the film “Away from Her” from 2006, directed by Sarah Polley. Her most recent collection is “Dear Life” (2012).
Munro, according to the biography from the Nobel prize committee, is “acclaimed for her finely tuned storytelling, which is characterized by clarity and psychological realism. Some critics consider her a Canadian Chekhov. Her stories are often set in small town environments, where the struggle for a socially acceptable existence often results in strained relationships and moral conflicts – problems that stem from generational differences and colliding life ambitions. Her texts often feature depictions of everyday but decisive events, epiphanies of a kind, that illuminate the surrounding story and let existential questions appear in a flash of lightning.”
Alice Munro currently resides in Clinton, near her childhood home in southwestern Ontario.
On the Web…
A link to an Alice Munro story in The New Yorker,